HARTFORD, CT — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy called on lawmakers Wednesday to pass legislation that would require all Connecticut residents to purchase health insurance.
The U.S. Congress and Republican President Donald Trump recently repealed the individual mandate when it approved changes to the tax code last year. That means in 2019 there will no longer any fines for being uninsured.
In his valedictory State of the State address, Malloy called on Connecticut lawmakers to institute their own.
“Together, let’s pass a bill that preserves the most vital elements of the Affordable Care Act – including the individual mandate,” Malloy said. “Let’s make it clear that in Connecticut, health care is a fundamental right.”
According to accompanying legislation, the penalty for not having health insurance in Connecticut would be $500 or two percent of an individual’s Connecticut adjusted gross income, whichever is greater.
If it passed Connecticut would become the second state to have such a mandate. The first was Massachusetts, which passed an individual mandate for health insurance before the Affordable Care Act.
Seven other states and the District of Columbia are also considering individual mandates.
Connecticut’s Democratic legislative leaders didn’t call for an individual mandate when they released their agenda on Tuesday.
House Majority Leader Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, said Tuesday that they would have to figure out the level of penalty and how much they would actually gain from that.
“What would you do with that revenue?” Ritter said. “Would it be used for reinsurance purposes?”
Ritter said those conversations are ongoing and it’s not that they don’t support the idea—it just didn’t make the package.
In addition to an individual mandate, Malloy also used his speech Wednesday to call for cost-free birth control.
“While we’re working on health care, we can do one more thing: we can pass a law that ensures that, irrespective of what happens in Washington, birth control for Connecticut women will remain cost-free,” Malloy said.
The statement receive applause from Democrats and some Republicans.
A large percentage, but not all birth control is free under the Affordable Care Act. Six states and Washington D.C. require insurers to provide a one-year supply of birth control.